Harland & Wolff has joined forces with Navantia to form ‘Team Resolute’, a shipbuilding collaboration which will bid for the Fleet Solid Support Ship programme to be built in Belfast.

As part of this, Harland and Wolff has signed an exclusive Teaming Agreement with Navantia, with BMT participating as an exclusive subcontractor in the Programme.

“Team Resolute combines 159 years of shipbuilding experience at one of the UK’s biggest shipyards, including the two largest dry docks in Europe, with unrivalled auxiliary design experience from UK designer BMT and a world-leading auxiliary shipbuilding track record from Navantia. As set out in the UK National Shipbuilding Strategy, the UK Government is seeking to strengthen the UK’s sovereign shipbuilding capability and prosperity, while driving cost and production efficiencies. Team Resolute offers a low risk and value for money UK solution for FSS based on recent and current experience designing and building comparable ships for other navies.”

If successful in the bid, the firms say that Team Resolute will inject significant investment into local economies across the whole of the UK through ship design and construction.

The firms claim their bid has the following benefits for the UK:

  • Prosperity for the UK. It will re-establish a skills base for UK shipbuilding in Northern Ireland, strengthening the UK’s sovereign shipbuilding capability and economic prosperity. Transfer of Navantia’s cutting edge digital shipyard knowledge to Harland & Wolff will support the modernisation and availability of this UK sovereign asset for FSS and beyond.
  • UK industrial strength for a UK FSS programme. It will provide the UK Government with the sovereign industrial capability to make FSS a successful UK programme. It will use a world beating British design from BMT, build at Harland & Wolff’s facilities in Northern Ireland, and incorporate wider UK fabrication, materials and equipment.
  • A formidable British design pedigree. BMT is the only company to have been involved in the design of QEC and MARS Fleet Tanker Programme. This experience provides the best possible foundation for delivering an FSS design that will comply with the project requirements and provide the capability necessary to complete the Carrier Strike Group.
  • The ideal partnership for assured FSS delivery. BMT’s unique design experience will reduce development time. Harland & Wolff’s and Navantia’s joint unparalleled dry dock capacity will minimise the FSS ships entry to service for the Carrier Strike Group. Navantia’s risk management experience with Australian and Spanish Navies will assure delivery to cost, time and quality.

John Wood, CEO of InfraStrata, said:

This partnership has the capability and credibility to disrupt the UK defence shipbuilding duopoly that currently exists, providing much needed competition in the defence sector to ensure value for money and guaranteed delivery. Team Resolute will create a more level playing field when competing for upcoming defence contracts. It will also provide Harland & Wolff with a strong proposition to tender for contracts in in the oil & gas, cruise & ferry, commercial and renewable sectors.  We have always selected our partners carefully.  In Navantia, we see a long term partner not only within the defence sector – we are also in advanced discussions for further teaming agreements in relation to offshore wind farms.”

Abel Méndez, Director of International Defence & Security, Spokesperson of Navantia commented:

“It is clear that under a new management team, Harland & Wolff is a shipyard that is forward-thinking, agile and ready to do business. We are excited about this new collaboration and the opportunities it will bring for both partners.”

Rob Teasdale, Business Development Director of BMT, said:

“BMT is excited to be part of Team Resolute with leading shipyards Harland & Wolff and Navantia to provide a dedicated partnership for UK’s Future Solid Support (FSS) ships. This new cooperation for Team Resolute, under which the three companies will work together on the FSS project, will lend our globally renowned ship design capabilities on a world leading capability for UK’s defence and national security requirements.  We look forward to working with Harland & Wolff to modernise and strengthen the UK’s sovereign shipbuilding capability. The combination of BMT’s experience across the maritime sector and our heritage in ship design is the ideal pedigree to bring large and challenging projects to successful fruition. With the reopening of the contest anticipated later this year, BMT stands ready with Harland & Wolff and Navantia to offer a modern approach to the FSS program that will contribute to sovereign shipbuilding and prosperity for the United Kingdom for years to come.”

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Geoffrey Roach
Geoffrey Roach
3 months ago

All success to you. I f we are to get the U K up and running again we need to invest in our own infrastructure and our own people. Any previous rules should be thrown out the window.
Also. good news for the T31’s. We have five. Another three…or five?

rec
rec
3 months ago

It sounds interesting, but surely we need a shipbuilding steategy that is based on a 10 year time scale (see my post on T31 engine thread) that includes CL, Babcock, BaE as well as H&W.? And funded separately and in addition to the current defence budget. If we really want a sustainable industry.

Joe16
Joe16
3 months ago

I’m initially positive about this; get one of the most efficient ship builders in Europe to provide the systems and procedures that make them competitive, the NI workforce is skilled and in place- just make it clear to them that they adapt to anything new or lose the job. With a bit of capital investment from these first RFA orders, and with some aggressive sales work, there could be a good future for H&W.

Mark
Mark
3 months ago
Reply to  Joe16

The NI workforce doesn’t exist, H&W have only a very small active workforce now and bring in contractors for significant chunks of work from across the island of Ireland and GB. Scaling H&W back up to being able to build something this size would be a major investment that will almost certainly impact time and costs for the hulls.

Joe16
Joe16
3 months ago
Reply to  Mark

Ah, OK, I was referencing a STRN article which said they had a local workforce of 1200 that had been laid off in the last year when they changed ownership. Are they not loccal then?
https://www.savetheroyalnavy.org/british-spanish-team-bid-to-build-the-fleet-solid-support-ship/

Mark
Mark
3 months ago
Reply to  Joe16

Nah they don’t have anything like that as a local force, even before the ownership issue there model was mainly bringing in contractors in on a “as needed” basis. I know some who made quite a good living sourcing and renting housing for the workers.

Roughly I think they may have about a couple of hundred “locals” on site but I could be wrong, I’ll ask a few people I know.

Joe16
Joe16
3 months ago
Reply to  Mark

Fair enough, I’ve never been a big fan of that model- seen it before in the offshore industry. Contractors making a stupid day rate staying in nice rental properties or hotels on the edge of places like Grimsby, while the locals get the rental income at best. Not knocking the landlords, it just doesn’t seem to benefit the locals that much. While I don’t doubt you’re right about the cost of building up a new work force, I’d love to see it happen. It annoys me no end that successive governments have let British industry rot and the regions that… Read more »

Mark
Mark
3 months ago
Reply to  Joe16

I know, I mean hell after the Cobh yard shut we now basically get H&W to send down workers for any intensive work on any ship in the Dockyard, they stay at a hotel near me.

As I said elsewhere though if H&W can remain viable it will be the only dock on the island of Ireland for the next Flagship of the Irish navy if that cursed project ever gets the green light.

Joe16
Joe16
3 months ago
Reply to  Mark

Here’s hoping, then!
I’ve read that it could get service work on the QE carriers too, which will add some needed capacity for large ships- trying to get them in and out of Rosyth is difficult and time sensitive from my understanding. Then again, don’t know if it would be equally so at H&W…

Levi Goldsteinberg
Levi Goldsteinberg
3 months ago

If it is a common, proven hull it would be stupid to not capitalise on that and take advantage of costs saving by using it as a base for Albion replacement and Argus replacement too

Ron
Ron
3 months ago

This is something that I have argued for, Not only an Albion and Argus but the possible LSS ships, Bay class replacement and in the future the Point class sealift ships. Let also not forget the mention of hospital ships. Thats 15-20 ships that could all be based on the same hull concept each between 20-30,000 tons. This could become a UK version of the Dutch DAMEN designed support/amphib ships. A potential 25 years work and employment for 10-15,000 people involved in the construction and supply chain at a cost of about £350 million per year and a 40-50% return… Read more »

Joe16
Joe16
3 months ago

I love the idea and I think it has legs, but I’m wary of trying to shoehorn too many platforms/requirements into one hull design. FSS, LSS, aid/international support ships (NOT hospital ships, we don’t want one of those), absolutely. When it comes to replacing amphibious capability though, I’m hesitant; All of the previous require large square spaces (internal and open), cranes of one sort or another, and a decent sized flight deck. Amphibious vessels certainly need all of that, but they also really need well decks. That is a very specialised design, and may be the ship equivalent of the… Read more »

geoff
geoff
3 months ago

It would be great to see the iconic Harland and Wolff shipyard resurrected from it’s present demise. It would strengthen NI’s links to the Union and help re-establish British skills lost over the last decades. Even if there is a perceived price difference between bids from foreign and UK tenders, one has to look not only at apparent bottom lines but also Tax issues and the contribution and multiplier factors.

Mark
Mark
3 months ago
Reply to  geoff

I think you are vastly overestimating what political impact H&W would have, and as I’ve said given how scaled down H&W is now, ramping back up to be able to build ships of this size would be a costly and lengthy process, not great if you want the hulls soon.

And of course you have to hope there’s no repeat of the Fort incident…

geoff
geoff
3 months ago
Reply to  Mark

Hi Mark. Hear what you say but historically and symbolically H&W is a much loved icon in Belfast and even if it is never returned to its glory days, it would be significant to the people of Belfast on both sides of the divide. Incidentally, my Grandfather saw the Titanic launched from there and many of my family were either employed directly or indirectly in shipbuilding in NI. As a child coming into Belfast down the lough on the ferry from Liverpool, seeing the H&W Crane was akin to the Statue of Liberty for New Yorkers.

Mark
Mark
3 months ago
Reply to  geoff

Ah, not really “both sides of the divide” given it’s long historical anti-Catholic position for most of it’s time, granted that has now passed but it is much more a Protestant/Unionist Icon than anything else. And you are absolutely right about it’s historic economic value to Belfast but again those days are passed and I can’t see how it could be regenerated to such a degree. One major thing that’s passed over is where this workforce is going to come from, again historically you had people that worked for the yards for life as you say family businesses almost, nowadays… Read more »

BB85
BB85
3 months ago
Reply to  Mark

The work force will be largely contractors from Scotland, Spain and Northern England. H&W won’t keep all of their eggs in one basket so if they can get naval work great it will prob be managed by Nevantia in all hit name. While the locals focus on managing renewable energy projects.
I would like to see ship building kick off here again I do think the facilities exist without too much investment.

Mark
Mark
3 months ago
Reply to  BB85

They already use that model for just what they were doing before the near collapse of the yard last year, not sure how much more it can scale, also bare in mind said historical workforce population may be “unhappy” if there is growth and more skilled non local workforce is used. And this being NI them being “unhappy” can have unfortunate side effects.

Not sure the Yard has seen much capital investment for some time tbh.

geoff
geoff
3 months ago
Reply to  BB85

Agree with your take BB85. Are you based in Belfast?

geoff
geoff
3 months ago
Reply to  Mark

Morning Mark. And I take your comments regarding historical injustices however as you say those days have passed/are passing. [email protected] may be more of a Prod icon but each side has their own. It is also a reality that shipbuilding skills in NI are now largely lost but can be rebuilt from a smaller base. I would think that if this bid is succesful, [email protected] will be very much the junior partner. Incidentally, my Grandfather built a chapel in the Falls Road in the 1920’s(he was born in the Shankhill)!! I was too young to understand the significance of that… Read more »

spyintheskyuk
spyintheskyuk
3 months ago
Reply to  geoff

This country has been in decline industrially for 70 years (and thats being optimistic on the figures) and we will have to take a long term view on any form of restoration based on a timescale not far short of that. No point saying it can’t be done in the next 5 so no point considering it at all, been far too much short terms here. We need to make a long term judgement, gain all the information possible on whether a 30 to 50 year gradual advance can be set in motion and is sustainable and invest only on… Read more »

geoff
geoff
3 months ago
Reply to  spyintheskyuk

A well articulated post but I disagree with much of what you say. It is a myth to talk about the average British worker having to compete with people who eat a bowl of rice and earn a dollar a day. All other things being equal(the Latin sounds a bit poncy) companies like Nissan have shown British workers can be as good and productive as any the world over. Also with the pace of change in every field now difficult to keep up with no one can work on 50 or 70 year cycles. A ten year period is more… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
3 months ago

And the price vs capability? Gold plated or with omissions?

What are the costs of comparable support ships in service elsewhere? Just to see if MoD are taken to the cleaners again.

We need things Brit built though, no doubt about that.

I wonder also if Spain will quieten over Gibraltar while this is going on.

George
George
3 months ago

Hi folks hope are all well.
Yes agree daniele, I was thinking the same, if there is any further fuss over Gib how will the Spanish government react, and with possible backing from the EU. Still on the face of it, sounds good!
Cheers
George

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
3 months ago
Reply to  George

Agreed George, hopefully, we will see a new era of shipbuilding on the scale that Ron mentions above.

It’s time we started investing in team UK rather than relying on others for our “off the shelf” military equipment.

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
3 months ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

Even if that means partnerships on occasion!

r cummings
r cummings
3 months ago

This sounds a very promising consortium, let’s hope that Navantia’s more advanced manufacturing capability and knowhow translate into a competitive price that makes it viable to build in Belfast. Of course HMG must start to factor in the personal and corporation tax that would come into the Treasury from UK shipbuilding that would be lost if the ships are built in the Far East.

r cummings
r cummings
3 months ago
Reply to  r cummings

It is a sad comment on the run-down size of the RN that we are only planning 3 replenishment ships. With the pathetically small number of escorts, the navy could put out 3 combat squadrons/task forces (in addition to the CASD squadron): the Carrier strike group and two small maritime task forces, the latter each with an SSN, T45 and two frigates. In addition there are guardships at various out-of-area bases. Each of these would I imagine require a replenishment ship as a component part of the force? So we would need 4, plus one alongside as squadron reserve and… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
3 months ago
Reply to  r cummings

It will probably be worse. I expect just 2. In 2010 we had 4 Replenishment ships, the two legacy Forts and the 2 newer Forts. My understanding, and I may be wrong and happy to be corrected by RN types, is that the current ships and the future MARS vessels supply solid stores, ammunition, and so on. On the army you are technically correct. 3 Division is deployable. 1 Division is not, just a collection of infantry battalions and RAC Regiments with not a single CS and CSS formation between them. They had CS and CSS for 2 brigades worth… Read more »

Joe16
Joe16
3 months ago

Gabriele just posted a (surprisingly short, for him) piece touching on this subject; suggesting that 1 Div and the reserves should be reviewed critically before anything else. From my reading MARS covers the already delivered Tide-class tankers (fuel and water) and the under discussion FSS for dry/solid stores and munitions. So we’ll have 6-7 replenishment vessels for the fleet. It may be that, due to the difference in consumption between wet and dry stores that the difference in quatities adds up? It’s not like we have masses of munitions in warehouses to ship out to our fleets anyway! I’d still… Read more »

Dern
Dern
3 months ago

Quick points to note about 1 div. Daniele, you knowledge is a bit out of date, 1 UK XX now consists of 4 infantry brigades, 8th Engineer X, 2 Med X (chiefly the field hospitals) and 104 log X. While 1 XX isnt going to deploy as a division, the UKs mode if operation around the globe means it’s actually a useful formation for the army. Examples include deployment of its light cav formation to provide reconnaissance for US forces in Poland, or Op Telic and Shader inf Battalions that are regularly used on Toral and Shader. I could go… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
3 months ago
Reply to  Dern

Hi Dern I was aware of all of the changes. I know, I spent hours updating my ORBAT files!!! They happened after 6 Division was formed from the ISTAR and Sig’s elements ( 11 and 1 Sig Bdes, 1 ISTAR bde, along with the SIG, and FTC was dismembered. I could not be bothered to list them here, as the point remains ( that Gab constantly emphasises, and I agree ) that 1 Div for the most part still remains an un deployable formation with no CS or CSS of its own for its brigades – 4th / 7th /… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
3 months ago

And I forgot to mention the “cap badge mafia” in that!

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
3 months ago

And taking those points you raise further – the transfer of 104, 8, 2 brigades to 1 Div. They make the Division look more acceptable on paper, but their roles support the wider army, not 1 UK Division. 104 LS Bde has the RLC movements specialists at S Cerney and 17 PMR plus reserve elements. A strategic unit with a strategic role, it does not really support 1 Div as its primary role. It properly belonged at the Corps level where it was before – Force Troops Command. 8 Force Engineer Brigade. Again is properly a Corps level formation, as… Read more »

Dern
Dern
3 months ago

My issue wasn’t that you didn’t list them Daniele, it was that you claimed there wasn’t a “single CS or CSS formation between them” which is demonstrably false. (And before we go on I lost a lot of respect for Gabrielles work a few years ago and stopped reading him, so I have no idea what he claims). Is 1 Div deployable as a division? No. And it probably never will be. But that doesn’t mean it’s useless. Most of the British Army’s current deployments do not work with support from the Army itself, instead support is provided by contracted… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
3 months ago
Reply to  Dern

Hi Dern.

Just found this. Will read in depth and have an absorb before replying. Cheers.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
3 months ago

Read in depth. Thank you. Accept your points on my critique. Your take on things makes me re evaluate my thoughts on 1 Division. Well put. You don’t need to expand but I’m of course curious as to why you no longer respect Gabriele. I agree that 3 Div must be maintained. I’m torn by the RM myself, but if the RN are not interested in a brigade formation then as we see in the recent changes to a raiding posture the Brigades diminishing will continue. Likewise the Paras. I think the mythos is important myself, especially for recruitment and… Read more »

Dern
Dern
3 months ago

Thank you for the interesting conversations. I’ll be hoenst v Gabi, I don’t remember exactly what it was, I went off him a few years ago and until you mentioned him I’d forgotten he exists. I do remember stumbling on his blog around Brexit time and yeah…. less said about the impression that made the better. I’m also skeptical of the RM downsizing to a Raiding force, but people keep saying we have a glut of infantry and I can see why the Navy would be more interested in not simply having a 5,000 man brigade they constantly loan to… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
3 months ago
Reply to  Dern

Nor do I. My point was prioritising the RN and RAF as the means to get them there, and support them ( army ) once they’re there.

Which to me means the SHF above all, then transports, tankers ISTAR on the air side, and carrier air power / RFA on the RN side.

Air Support through jets or RPAS obviously.

UKSF and intelligence agencies / and wider MoD ISTAR assets the building blocks which the others build on.

Cheers.

Lusty
Lusty
3 months ago

Hi Danielle, sorry if this is a bit under explained, but I’ll try my best! Solid Support Ships are generally intended to support RN operations by supplying exactly what you describe: food, ammunition, and spare parts. I say generally, as Fort Vic does have a limited tanker capacity -even more limited now after her refit- which gives her a little more flexibility. The older Forts, both of which are laid up, don’t have this facility. Similarly, Fort Vic is the only one able to operate with the carriers and therefore fully contribute to the carrier group. At this juncture, it… Read more »

Lusty
Lusty
3 months ago
Reply to  Lusty

@ Daniele, may I offer my apologies for the extra l in your name; I was in a rush!

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
3 months ago
Reply to  Lusty

Thank you for the detailed explanation mate. I know you know about the L, I would not have commented on it anyway

Lusty
Lusty
3 months ago

You’re welcome – hope you’re keeping well mate.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
3 months ago
Reply to  Lusty

We are. Thank you.

expat
expat
3 months ago

Whilst it sounds promising it may be nothing more than dressing up a Spanish build. H&W would need a large investment to ramp up to build these ships. I believe H&W has less than 100 employees Cammell Liard has 700 and just completed a full build.

r cummings
r cummings
3 months ago
Reply to  expat

Danielle, the point about the army combat brigades is that we have 6, if we include 3 Cdo. The Government’s aim, as per 2015 SDSR, is to be able to deploy a full division i.e. 3 brigades.Basically, we can only man and support half of the formations that exist on paper. I was wondering if this gap between paper and real also applied to RN task forces, which would be one explanation for the small number of fleet solid support ships. 1 Division in its penultimate form was an adminustrative ‘Division’ only, it included the ceremonial troops, Northern Ireland garrison,… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
3 months ago
Reply to  r cummings

It was called Theatre Troops. Then Force Troops.
Some are now in 1 Div. Some in 3 Div. Some in 6 Div.

Agree, I make that point above. They are corps troops assigned to brigades below, as it should be, and was. In BAOR most were at both Divisional and Corps level.

Andy P
Andy P
3 months ago

I know there was ‘talk’ of putting the FSSS back out to tender, has it happened yet or is this just H&W (and Co) putting it out there that they’re interested. As others have said, if Navantia are involved, there is the potential to have a common hull form which could be something to consider but only if the government are planning on utilising this fully. If we’re only going to be looking at three (or two….) then we might be better looking at somewhere else, preferably in the UK. This ‘fudging’ to try and get cheap RFA’s from South… Read more »

nathan
nathan
3 months ago

Why is it Spain and Italy with Navantia and Fincantieri respectively have been able to build large, successful and sustainable ship building industries yet we struggle, despite the fact we build more combat ships than the aforementioned nations? Are our companies just inferior? are they too fragmented? is our management poor? do we lack vision? How is it they the Italians can build mega-yachts and cruise ships in their docks but the refrain here is … that kind of work goes to cheap labour in Korea (which isn’t so cheap anymore). It seems painfully obvious to me that modern European… Read more »

Darren
Darren
3 months ago

This wont benifit the UK what so ever. Why, most of the contract will have all steel bought and frabricated in Spain, our dearest friend. The graphic there shows a ship in Harland and Wolff building dock, so what!? BAE was developing an industry 4.0 digital shipyard for the Type 26’s before Navantia and is building a shipyard in Australia based on this and also helping Canada with their Type 26 ships using this tech. We are now living in a China-19 virus World and now finding out how it is like to be too dependant on foreign supplies which… Read more »

Darren
Darren
3 months ago

I hope that my computer that is on open processor chip surgery can stay alive to post this.. The whole idea is completely insane and a easy divide and conquer tactic which the UK Gov and MoD have allowed to happen with this daft competition idea as if it were like a game show. It in affect, allows UK shipyards to be neutralised in this process. This would not really be a partnership, but a convenient set up to allow Navantia to build these UK taxpayer funded ships and assemble a little bit of it in the UK. This is… Read more »